Since I'm just back from a quick jaunt to New York, what better time to feature a fragrance inspired by the city itself? Honoré des Prés is a boutique French line that's set themselves a steep challenge - make artisan, niche fragrances, on par with the best, from entirely natural ingredients. Except natural is something of an understatement. We're talking eco-certified and organic, with no phthalates, synthetic compounds, animal products or petrochemicals. Sounds easy, but it really isn't - without synthetic compounds, perfumes tend to be stuck in the pleasant and fresh category, lacking the weird and wonderful twists that make a good fragrance great. Luckily, Honoré des Prés has Olivia Giacobetti at the helm (famed nose and creator of classic, nuanced fragrances for L'Artisan, Diptyqye, etc), and in their second collection, three eau de parfums inspired by modern New York life, the weird and wonderfuls tend to come thick and fast, with mixed but very interesting results. I'm starting with the standout of the bunch - the boozy, candy-coated, tuberose extravaganza that is Vamp à NY ....
Vamp à NY starts out with a creamy, crass hit of tuberose – it carries all the wallop of the sultry white flower without that sharp, sometimes acrid note that makes me tend to dislike white florals. This is an altogether rounder, juicier take on the bloom, more like the flower in its natural tropical state. There's an almost palpable texture to the flower, a distinctive rubbery waxiness. If you know and love tuberose you'll know exactly what I mean. If not, well, this is only going to get weirder from here on out. After the first hit of tuberose, I smell a lot of ylang ylang creeping in, fleshing out the floral into something even headier and bolder - then a sweet, sticky rum note, a hint of pulpy fruit (banana skin? coconut flesh?) and an aromatic swirl of real, sharp, bourbon vanilla. There's hints of exotic resins and balms deep down in the vanilla, but to my nose they're faint and fleeting. Overall, I get the impression of bubblegum and hot pink sunsets and muggy, sultry evenings full of flowers. Once dried down on skin, the fragrance doesn't change or evolve much – it sticks around as a deep, sweet, sticky flavor – like candied tropical blooms, preserved in rum syrup. It teeters on the edge of feeling overpowering but settles quickly into something very wearable, with a definite modern uniqueness that suits the perfume landscape right now . I was expecting something much more demure, and I have to say, for a naturally sourced scent, Vamp à NY is a bit of a loudmouth.
Which brings us to the name – I think it's ever so slightly misleading in English, suggesting that this is some sort of sophisticated screen siren's fragrance. For me, this is less femme fatale and more girly girl playing dress up as a cartoon vamp - red lipstick and slinky gown, but maybe some high tops peeking out under the hem, smacking her pink bubblegum a little too loudly. It's the sort of scent that could get you in trouble, or into a whole lot of fun. It's a playful, modern and youthful take on the classic vampy white flower perfume. I'm still not much of a tuberose girl at heart, so I'm unlikely to wear this very often, but I also can't help but appreciate what an endeavor it was to make a perfume with this much character and wit and panache, from ingredients that usually render altogether more staid affairs. It's almost wonderfully tacky, in a stylish, French sort of way – and I mean that as the greatest of compliments.
Are you a tuberose kind of girl? Planning to vamp it up a bit with your fragrance this summer? Let's chat below!
*This product was a PR sample from the generous people at Honore des Pres. This in no way effects my opinions - if I don't like a product, I don't feature it!